‘Sledding the West’ show to document Craig snowmobiling | CraigDailyPress.com

‘Sledding the West’ show to document Craig snowmobiling

Nicole Inglis

Bob Lipes rides his snowmobile during January’s Poker Run at the Elkhead Reservoir trailhead. Recreational snowmobiling in Craig will be the focus of BAM Film Productions’ “Sledding the West,” which will be filmed this weekend.

Bob Lipes rides his snowmobile during January's Poker Run at the Elkhead Reservoir trailhead. Recreational snowmobiling in Craig will be the focus of BAM Film Productions' "Sledding the West," which will be filmed this weekend.
Shawn McHugh

— To 50-year-old Meg Allen, snowmobiling isn't just for young, aggressive riders throwing back flips and high marking in the backcountry.

She is out to show the snowmobiling community — and the rest of the nation — that the sport is fun, family-friendly and community-oriented.

On Saturday at the Wyman Museum's Winter Festival, Allen will take her place in front of a television camera manned by her husband, Blake, to host an episode of "Sledding the West."

The annual Winter Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday at the museum, 94350 U.S. Highway 40.

Snowmobile races begin at 9:30 a.m. each day, and activities such as a chili cook-off, a cardboard box derby, ice climbing and a fireworks show also will be take place throughout the weekend.

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The Allens, who make up BAM Film Productions, will be in Craig from Friday to Feb. 17 filming Winter Festival events and local trail riding.

The episode will air in the fall on Altitude Sports and Entertainment.

Teresa Stoffle, assistant director of Snocross circuit X-treme Mountain Racing, met Allen years ago at an expo and has since been involved with helping bring filming to Craig.

"I thought it'd be great exposure for our race circuit along with the town," Stoffle said.

Now that her hopes have become a reality, she is looking forward to a film company documenting the XMR race and snowmobile rodeo Saturday at the festival.

"There's so much going on," Stoffle said. "We have vintage sleds, Snocross, ice carvers, (a) cardboard box derby … I think they're going to be really, really impressed with what our town has to offer."

Allen, who has never been to Craig, said she has heard and seen a lot about the community and is anticipating an action-packed weekend.

"We are so looking forward to Craig because you guys have so many really exciting things that we are putting together," Allen said. "You have a community that comes together and puts on things that are really interesting events."

The show's first season, which aired this fall, was contracted for three episodes. The demand for reruns of the show was so high, Allen said, that the three episodes aired a total of 62 times.

For the second season, the contract was doubled to include six episodes, including the Craig episode.

Allen, who travels around the West filming different locations, said she was looking forward to the Craig episode in particular.

"It's going to be a great show," Allen said. "Number one, there's a snowmobile rodeo. They're going to be having snowmobile barrel racing and goat roping.

"How Western can you get? What good family fun, and that's what 'Sledding the West' is all about: clean-cut, family fun. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the sledders out there are good family people."

Allen, a mother of six and grandmother of seven, hopes to show her TV audience that anyone can get out and enjoy a trail ride with family and friends.

"We're all about changing the perception of the sport," she said. "The whole premise of the show is family.

"This is a fun sport, and we try to convince people who have never been on a sled that it doesn't take a lot of great skill. You get to get out into the forest and the trees and to the tops of mountains you'd never be able to get to if you didn't have this machine."

The Idaho-based company recently finished filming a segment in Oregon featuring a family that had four generations of snowmobile enthusiasts.

Allen said it warmed her heart to see an 83-year-old man geared up with his 13-year-old great-grandson by his side, spending time outdoors on a snow machine.

She said that from her research and contacts in Craig, she expects that Craig offers the community aspect of riding she hopes to highlight in the show.

"You have a community that is involved in their community," she said. "That makes it interesting. In the barrel racing, if every one of them misses the barrels, it's still a bunch of mothers and daughters, sharing and building strong family bonds. To me, that's everything this sport is about."

She said the Craig episode will be an excellent resource for her show, as well as beneficial to the winter tourism industry in Moffat County.

"From what I can tell, you guys have a phenomenal community going and a lot of spirit," she said. "I think this is a win-win for everyone involved."

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